The Definitive Guide to Dog Names

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Back in the day, pet owners could get away with calling their furry friends Rover, Spot or Lassie and nobody thought twice about it. These days, however, dog lovers are putting far more thought into their canine’s moniker. The traditional names just aren’t cutting it anymore, thus the modern-day dog park is filled with gleeful shouts from creative and considerate paw-rents.

What’s in a Name?

While there’s a good chance your pup will come to any name you give it, picking an appropriate title is nearly as important as picking the right dog food. It not only communicates that you truly care about your pet but it also provides him/her with a recognizable word that can be used for commands and during cuddles.

Shakespeare once asked what’s in a name. He poetically stated that “a rose by any other name would smell just as sweet.” Although that may be true, little is said about the influence of a word’s sound and frequency. According to research, dogs can pick up noises from a much wider range than human beings. Furthermore, the average canine’s hearing is at least two times better than ours.

What does all of that mean? Well, studies have shown that dogs actually prefer certain sounds over others. In fact, there’s an entire market geared towards producing species-specific music that uses a combination of relaxing or stimulating sound frequencies at various speeds and pitches. With all that said, carefully selecting the word or words used to address your dog is a lot more important than some people think.

5 Tips to Help You Choose the Perfect Name for Your Dog

There may be plenty of adorable names out there, but they’re not all appropriate for your pup. Below are 5 simple guidelines to help you pick out the best one:

  1. Make Sure Your Dog Can Understand It

Although “Fido” and “Fluffy” are both simple names that are easy to understand, neither are original or interesting. On the other hand, a name that’s too complicated may be difficult to call out or remember.

  1. Pick a Name You Can Easily Pronounce

If you choose a name that’s troublesome to pronounce, you’ll be tempted to give your dog a nickname. Such habits may seem harmless but they can be quite confusing to a canine, especially a young one.

  1. Choose Something That Sounds Friendly

Remember, you’ll be saying your dog’s name quite often. Therefore, it’s important that the name you choose doesn’t sound too mean, angry or aggressive when uttered. Pick something friendly if possible, even if that means getting creative by combining words.

  1. Select a Name That Exemplifies Your Dog’s Unique Personality

The name “Spot” won’t suffice for a dog with no spots, and the name “Fluffy” isn’t right for a pup with short hair. In the same way, certain names can clash with a dog’s personality. Unless you’re deliberately choosing a mismatched name like that for ironic purposes, it’s best to choose a title that suits your dog’s unique temperament.

  1. Use the Moniker to Define Your Bond

Your dog’s name can have sentimental value as well. Whether he/she gets dubbed after someone you love or given a name that describes their significance in your life, meaningful monikers are always a good choice.

The Top 20 Most Popular Dog Names

A recent pet owner poll done by Nextdoor.com revealed some intriguing data concerning the most popular dog names. In America, the top 20 most common titles picked for our four-legged friends are as follows (in no particular order):

  • Max
  • Lucy
  • Molly
  • Sadie
  • Maggie
  • Cooper
  • Charlie
  • Buddy
  • Bella
  • Lily
  • Bailey
  • Daisy
  • Jack
  • Oliver
  • Bear
  • Duke
  • Tucker
  • Lola
  • Sophie
  • Macy

Interestingly, the name “Bella” was the number one favorite across all breeds. However, the name “Lucy” was more popular for mixed-breed pups and the name “Bailey” won first place for Labs, Golden Retrievers and Collies. Not on the list were more unique names like “Gizmo” (popular for small, high-energy dogs) and “Coco” (popular for older, low-energy dogs.

FUN FACT: Not surprising, the most common name for the boxer breed is, of course, “Rocky.”

Consider the Meaning

Also referred to as a word’s etymology, the meaning of your dog’s name can add an interesting element to his/her bio. Especially for young pups that have not been adopted or received a name previously, picking out a brand-new title can be exciting and rewarding for the both of you. After all, the simple act of naming your pet is the first step to bonding.

Along with choosing a meaningful name comes a careful consideration of its underlying connotations. For example, the name “Max” means “greatest” and the name “Bailey” means “capable.” While not all dog names have a significant meaning, the one you pick most certainly can (and should). As a proud dog owner, this is your one chance to show the world just how much you love your little fur-person.

NOTE: Double check the meaning of any name before assigning it to your dog. Most canines will become accustomed to their given title quickly and could become confused if it gets changed later.

Quick Renaming Tips and Tricks

You could have a million reasons to change your dog’s current name, and it’s possible (even easy) when you use the following techniques:

  • Select a name that’s somewhat similar to the original name (a.k.a. something that rhymes with it).
  • Pick something that’s short (1-2 syllables) and thus easy for your dog to learn.
  • Use names with hard consonants (S, D, T, K, F, and M are most effective).
  • Avoid anything that sounds like a command.
  • Stay away from names that are too similar to the names of other pets or household members.
  • Inform the members of your household about the change and ask that they start referring to your dog using his new name.
  • Encourage your dog to respond positively to his/her updated title by offering healthy treats that gradually decrease in frequency.
  • Always use a calm and reassuring tone of voice when addressing your dog, especially when teaching him/her to respond to a new name.

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